Nowadays millennials can spew out health and beauty fads more fluently than “Anchorman” quotes. In between the daily struggles of #selfies, compulsively checking Instagram, and stalking your latest crush on Facebook, health and beauty has become less of a focus on health, and more of a focus on a David Copperfield illusion of wellness.
Let’s face it: it’s far more motivating to think modern technology has miraculous weight loss tips or genetically engineered food with negative calories. But here we are, in 2014, with the facts. If you want to lose weight, you have to diet and exercise.
What about oral hygiene? Brush and floss? Ha! It’s no secret that for most of us the last time that white thread was in-between our teeth was when the hygienist did the honors 6 months ago… right?
“Oil Pulling” seems much more effective [enter heavy dose of sarcasm here]. 20 minutes of swishing coconut oil will miraculously negate a year of drunken pass-outs sans brushing. It may even detox your body from the countless preservatives you binged ate while watching “Frozen”… all while leaving you feeling like you accomplished a 20 minute oral workout. That’s what the internet tells us.
But what does science tell us? Save yourself 17 minutes a day. Brushing and flossing will reap true benefits, and you won’t sound like an idiot to all of your friends. Properly brushing and flossing will whiten, decrease cariogenic bacteria, freshen your breath, prevent cavities, and re-mineralize teeth. Evidence supporting oil pulling is purely anecdotal; and yes, swishing a viscous oil could aid in removing bacteria biofilm that has accumulated on the surfaces of your teeth; however, brushing not only does this in less time, but it also replenishes your teeth with fluoride, making teeth stronger and preventing cavities. In addition, flossing is the only tool we have that can clean the bacteria that’s having a party in-between our teeth and under our gums (GROSS). Flossing has the added benefit of ridding your perfect smile from interproximal cavities and gingivitis… something that an Instagram filter won’t do.
So the next time you want to “oil pull”, skip the oil and just “pull” the floss out. #justdoit
Mary Beth Sorrentino, D.M.D., received her Doctorate of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. She is currently a dentist in Charleston, SC.
*Image from worldtruth.tv